How do you handle anxiety?
Me personally, I like to eat my anxiety away. However, Jon and I are trying to get healthier and lose weight. Crunching on cucumbers is not nearly as satisfying as downing a box of cookies.
My other go-to way of dealing with anxiety is shopping. That’s what I chose yesterday. Retail therapy looks different these days, too, though, and strolling through a store in a mask wondering what surfaces have COVID on them is not all the relaxing.
Jon and I both had stressful, anxiety-filled days yesterday. And we aren’t the only ones. Talking with friends who are facing hard situations reminded me that anxiety, fear, and insecurity are all around us.
I walked around 3 stores before I realized that I had not yet prayed about my anxiety.
In truth, I habitually engage in several avoidance tactics before I face a difficult, anxiety-producing situation head-on. The first step in confronting something hard is praying about it.
Prayer did not make my anxiety immediately dissipate. As I’ve been learning about prayer and it’s purpose – as I’ve been learning about the character of God – I’ve come to understand that prayer’s purpose is not to take away the things that we don’t want to deal with.
I walked around the 4th store (mask secured, social distancing, touching little) praying. My prayer went something like this: “God, this sucks. I don’t want to deal with it. My anxiety is making me physically nauseous and I want to cry while eating everything that ever existed. But none of that is going to make the situation go away. Help me to control my emotions. Remind me that it’s okay to not like this, but it’s not okay to avoid it. Show me what to do next. Remind me that you are sufficient. No matter what happens, you never stop being sufficient. You never stop being in charge.”
In the New Living Translation, Philippians 4:6 reads, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.”
Rather than seeing prayer as God immediately fixing all my worries, the idea of praying away worry is that God knows what we need, God is in control, and God is working for our best. Praying is less about our requests and more about increasing our trust in God’s sovereignty. Even when situations seem impossible or never-ending, resting in God’s sufficiency gives peace. It should be our first response rather than the last.
Oh, and it helps when your husband brings home Doritos, too. 😉